Vol.XIX No.VIII Pg.4
October 1982

Asking The Lord

Robert F. Turner

"I often asked the Lord where my energy, enthusiasm, dedication, hard work and spirit would be the most beneficial in reaching a great many people and he pointed the way..."

What an admirable attitude this person has and what great things we might expect to see in their life: We all need to learn to ask the Lord (Matt. 7:7-11) and to allow Him to point the way (Jer. 10:23). However, the nobility of such a statement is determined by our concept of what it means to "ask the Lord" and how and where we think He will "point the way".

Some ask the Lord to "point the way" with their minds made up beforehand about what they want to do. They have confused pleasing the Lord with pleasing self. Please read Jer. 42:1—43:3. The people came to Jeremiah with a request: they wanted to know "the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do... whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God" (Jer. 42:1-6). Jeremiah did as they asked but when he told them what the Lord said, their response was, "You are telling a lie: The Lord our God has not sent you to say, 'You are not to enter Egypt to reside there'." (43:2). The reason for this response was that they had already made up their minds about what they wanted to do (41:17-18). Others, however, ask with a view toward finding and doing the Lord's will rather than their own (Matt. 7:24-27; 26:39; Jo. 7:17).

Some ask the Lord subjectively to point the way, looking within, to the "inner light" until they "feel" He has answered. These have confused asking the Lord with asking self. Saul said, "I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things" (Acts 26:9). But, because he acted upon the basis of an emotion (anger, 26:11), he reached conclusions "contrary to the name of Jesus..." There is no difference between Saul and those today who determine "truth" upon an emotional basis: Joy — "I would not give the feeling in my heart... Pity — "What about the natives who have never heard of baptism?..." On the other hand there are those who ask the Lord objectively, looking without, for sure guidance and certain knowledge (1 Jno. 2:3,5b-6; 3:19, 24; 4:2,6,13), allowing emotions to follow as a result of obedience rather than the basis upon which "truth" is determined (Jo. 15:11; 1 Jno. 1:4).

Some believe that as a result of such "asking" the Lord has "pointed" in the direction of activities that are in conflict with Divine revelation (remember Nadab and Abihu, Lev. 10:1-2?) and no amount of reasoning will convince them otherwise ("It can't be wrong when it feels so right"). But others will not even think of acting until first they are sure it is "in the name of the Lord" (Col. 3:17).

Now for "the rest of the story" we began in the first paragraph. The young woman making that statement affirms that when she asked the Lord for guidance, "...he pointed the way to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders... and I followed."

David Smitherman